Berfrois

April 2013

Ridin’

Ridin’

by Justin E. H. Smith The apocryphal story of Phyllis and Aristotle is captivating for a number of reasons. For one thing, it recalls for us a period in the history of culture in which philosophy, and philosophers, were implicated not just in elite disputation, but also in popular...

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Work It

Work It

Work, Ford Maddox Brown, 1852–1865 by David Palumbo-Liu In its March 2013 issue, The Atlantic ran a tersely titled article, “Anthropology, Inc.” The author, Graeme Wood, spoke about a market research company (ReD) that was hiring anthropology PhDs to use their training in social science field work to dreg up...

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Dylan J. Montanari on Michael Fried

Dylan J. Montanari on Michael Fried

Readers of contemporary art criticism may have come across the following story about Michael Fried. Fellow critic Rosalind Krauss was with Fried at a show in the early 1960s when someone confronted him about a Frank Stella painting. “What’s so good about that?” the challenger asked. According to Krauss,...

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Ironoffspring

Ironoffspring

Margaret Thatcher, illustrated by Gerald Scarfe From The Guardian: When I was a kid, Thatcher was the headmistress of our country. Her voice, a bellicose yawn, somehow both boring and boring – I could ignore the content but the intent drilled its way in. She became leader of the...

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A Swigswag

A Swigswag

by Joe Linker “The idea that everyone has a story to tell (which underlies the notion that anyone can write since all a writer needs is a story) is strictly correct,” Jenny Diski said, writing in the London Review of Books (7 Mar, 21) about Marco Roth’s memoir, The...

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Impressions are the very air we breathe…

Impressions are the very air we breathe…

I should not have affixed so comprehensive a title to these few remarks, necessarily wanting in any completeness, upon a subject the full consideration of which would carry us far, did I not seem to discover a pretext for my temerity in the interesting pamphlet lately published under this...

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Often, standing in front of paintings Jenny Diski wonders what it is she is supposed to be feeling…

Often, standing in front of paintings Jenny Diski wonders what it is she is supposed to be feeling…

From Midnight in Paris, Sony Pictures Classics, 2011 by Jenny Diski There is a picture in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where I live, called The Annunciation. I keep a postcard of it in my writing room, and visit the actual painting from time to time. A winged and...

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Russia’s ’68?

Russia’s ’68?

From Voina to Bykov, Pussy Riot to Moscow hipsterism, culture seems to be playing a very political game in Russia. How can we explain this? Is this something that Russia has seen before? Are we witnessing this Russia’s ‘1968’ moment? And if so, is accompanied by the same kind...

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What to do?

What to do?

Spring Breakers, A24, 2013 From The Chronicle Review: Everyone from Plato and Thomas More to H.G. Wells and Barack Obama has given thought to the question of the fair distribution of labor and fun within a society. This comes with an immediate risk: Too often, the “realist” rap against...

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Climbing Up to the Moon

Climbing Up to the Moon

Isn’t it strange how complex and overwhelming our feelings about fictional people can become? There is a conflict of impulses: the sympathetic and the dramatic. We want characters to be happy for the same reason we want our friends and family to be happy – hell, I’m such a...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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